Has anyone tried pain reprocessing therapy?

LuisC

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Oct 31, 2021
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Hi everyone.
I recently came accros with a book "the way out" by Alan Gordon who explaines how "pain reprocessing therapy" can be an effective treatment for chronic patients. In fact, there is a recent study published in JAMA that found that close to 66% of low back pain patients reported nearly zero or zero pain after the end of that therapy.
Well, he pointed out that almost every chronic pain is in fact neuroplastic which means that the brain missinterprets safe signals as pain. As far as I know something similar happens in fibromyalgia, so I was wondering if maybe somebody has tried that therapy and if it was helpful or not.
Thanks in advance
 

Jemima

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Hi LuisC,

I haven't tried Pain Reprocessing Therapy as such, but it sounds somewhat akin to the work I did with a neuropsychologist last year. He worked with me on the idea that fibromyalgia pain isn't a threat. Normally, we feel pain, and have a motivating stress response that would help us move away from or counteract the cause. With fibro, we can't proactively tackle our pain in the moment, so we tend to get stuck in the stress response indefinitely. His approach was to help me train myself that there is no threat, interrupting the physiological stress cycle that I was stuck in - and with it the negative health impacts and symptom triggering that stress likes to carry along for the ride.

His approach featured meditation and breath work - aiming to down-regulate the sympathetic nervous system and up-regulate the parasympathetic nervous system. It also involved getting me to perform body scans, acknowledging the presence of pain wherever I found it, but also decisively recognising that it wasn't a danger to me, and could come and go as it pleased. Finally, we went through talk therapy, working through stress sources in my life and exploring positive and negative triggers that I could then harness, manange, or avoid.

I was so impressed by how much this helped me - when combined with a number of other good practices and a few supplements, the result was that my pain is now a fraction of what it used to be. So, I guess I'd say that you could try pain reprocessing therapy, or explore developing your own strategy based on its principles. Definitely worth a shot!
 

sunkacola

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I love what Jemima's doctor taught her. It makes so much sense. My approach was different, but ended in the same place, which is being easy and relaxed with the pain and not allowing it to affect me emotionally. This was a process, and didn't happen overnight, (and of course I am not 100% perfect at it even now), but it is the one thing that I think has helped me the most with chronic pain. More than medication or anything else, the ability to roll with the pain and not have an emotional reaction to it has made it possible for me to manage it daily and have a life.

Jemima mentions in other posts the concept of "Radical Acceptance". I love that phrase, as it is what I have been practicing for years without having such a cool name to call it. It is accepting completely what is in this moment. Acceptance is not approval, or apathy, or acquiescence. It doesn't mean you don't do whatever is in your power to change it and/or deal with it. What it means is you don't waste energy on worry, speculation, dire thinking, or saying that "this shouldn't be happening" or "why me?". All of those things derail your energy from being able to manage it well. "Pain reprocessing therapy" may utilize some of this philosophy as well. I'd like to know more about it.

I love biofeedback. You can do some of this on your own, no need for a program or for fancy equipment. I have found it amazing for my anxiety attacks, and now I employ it every time I start to have one. I think something like that would also work at least to some degree with other things like pain, although I haven't figured out how yet.
 
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